Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Someone accepted an offer today. Next summer's class is starting to shape up. I hate the people who take forever to decide, and make us send them cookies, or brownies, or t-shirts. Those things shouldn't make a difference. After all of these years, I still haven't figured out how law students make their decisions. We track the firms we're competing against, at least to the extent the people with offers tell us who else they're looking at, and there's no way to predict consistently what people will do. It's not as if we consistently get people who are choosing between us and one particular firm, and lose people choosing between us and another particular firm. There just isn't much of a pattern. We also track by reasons students give for turning us down, and there's no rhyme or reason there either. "Didn't feel right" is what we hear most, which is just students trying to be polite. Practice group issues are also things we hear a lot, because people want to do one thing and we're weaker in it, or at least they perceive us to be weaker, not that they know anything. For years we were thought to be weak in a specific practice, and everyone at the firm knew it wasn't true and we were building competency and clients and would soon be a big player. And we would tell students that. But they wouldn't listen. Now, we're one of the best at it. And people choose us for it. One thing I don't understand are the students whose resumes show them really dedicated to something -- environmental issues, human rights issues, education issues -- and then they choose a firm to work in that practice group, even though the work the firm does is on the "wrong" side of the issue. There's a firm with a human rights practice group I know of, and Burma is one of its clients. There are firms that recruit at schools with top environmental programs for students to staff their cases defending companies that pollute. I am in complete support for firms doing this kind of work - it's lucrative, no doubt. But I don't understand how they (and we) get students to come on board, especially students who have spent their time at school working on the other side of the issue. My angle has often been to try and push the generally uncommitted "corporate people" or "litigation people" into the "difficult to justify morally" practice areas, but that isn't the pattern lately. I read somewhere recently that there are firms lining up to defend Saddam Hussein. That's a tough sell in the recruiting process, or so I would expect. Although perhaps I'm wrong.

My old firm (a European one) used to defend Saddam, at least.

And I'm all over the morally questionable fields- when someone asks my what sort of law I practice, rather than tell them something they'll either hate or not understand (e.g. mass tort defense or securities litigation defense) I just tell them I practice "evil law."

I make a lot of money, I don't do pro bono work, and I don't care.
I am a 2L having some trouble settling on a firm, because the one that I want to go to seems to be pretty cheap to its associates -- has a reputation for paying low (or at least mysterious, as they are discretionary) bonuses and having somewhat subpar benefits (no bar stipend, cheesy health plan, etc.). However, it's one of the most "prestigious" firms around, I liked the people, and I'm intrigued by its strengths -- I'm just concerned that it doesn't value its associates as much as this other firm that at least pretends like it cares by being above market in both compensation and benefits.
Here's a clue: neither firm values its associates at all. Go with the one you think you'll like because you'll hate it less and leave after 2-4 years rather than really hate it and leave after 10 months.
Referenced firm = MTO's role in Unocal case?
Go to the firm that celebrates closings by going to strip clubs and periodically weeds out their dead wood partners irrespective of their length of service.
Once again La Depressionada is right on. I am in love with La Depressionada, seriously. If I weren't married I'd email her and try to see if we could become pen pals.

The guy who said get a clue, NO firms value their associates, is also 100% correct, but not nearly as cute as La Depressionada, who F*ing rocks.
Yes 2L, get a clue. You WILL be miserable at either firm and you WILL eventually (or immediately) hate it and leave (between 1 to 6 years after starting)--unless you are one of "them"--the brainwashed zombies who can actually bring himself to want to become a law firm partner. It really is just like "The Firm," the Grisham novel/Cruise movie. It totally sucks. Enjoy your final days as a free student. I mean, really, really take advantage and savor every second.
Are you guys serious? Please tell me you're not. Because reading this website is sooo depressing! It can't really be like that at most law firms can it?! I'm seriously thinking of dropping out if it's really like this. It's so sad and everyone's so mean to each other and depressed and all the worst traits comes out. I don't like it at all.
I just want to say that I love this site. I'm a 1L and can't wait to get out to the "real" world. I'd like to share something a fellow 2L wrote to us about interviewing/recruiting: So a man dies and ends up standing before St. Peter in heaven. St. Peter tells the man, "Well, you've lived a good life, not a great one, we aren't really sure where to put you, so we thought we'd do something different with you. We'll let you try out heaven and hell and let you pick which one you like the best." So the guy goes to heaven, meets his old family and friends, sits around reminicses, etc... he has a decent time. The next day, he visits hell. Everyone is having a blast. They are dressed in nice clothes, everyone is dancing, drinking, eating awesome food. So he goes back to st. Peter and says, "You know, I've decided I like hell." So he goes down to hell. And when he gets there, everyone is starving, wearing rags, and working around the clock doing tedious tasks. He asks the devil, "What happened to the party?" and the devil responds: "Yesterday, you were a recruit. Today you are staff."
I am a NYC attorney, have read all your old posts and honestly do not think you are real. Why don't you just come out and say it and stop deluding potential,ignorant readers of your true motivation for posting such awful and absolutely insensitive thoughts and ideals. If you really ARE who you are, then I truly feel sorry for you and hope the public understands you represent only 5% of the legal profession.
I agree with the previous person: what you write is definitely misleading. (So fear not, young would-be attorneys!) Then again you do have "fictional" in your byline, so perhaps it's their own fault for being gullible enough to buy what you say.
Istanbul, not Constantinople.
They Really Are Into Me: The All-Excuses Truth to Understanding Law FirmsUnfortunately Law Firms are too greedy to ever directly tell a Law Student, "You're only grist for the mill." But their actions absolutely show how they feel.

They Really Are Into Me -- based on a popular episode of Sex and the City -- educates otherwise smart Law Students on how to convince themseves that a Law Firm really likes them and will treat them well, so that they can stop wasting time making excuses for any life outside the firm and start making excuses in favor the firm.
6:09 and 6:16, I'm a real live Biglaw midlevel associate and I'm here to say that whether AL is real or not, yes, most (most) Biglaw partners do think that way. They're the bitter ones who graduated in the 80s. To you students here, yes, it does suck, but you make a lot of money and it can be interesting (better than being a cleaning lady, dishwasher, accountant, midlevel bank manager, car mechanic, etc.) and you'll probably get golden handcuffs like the rest of us. Enjoy your final days in school. What makes it suck is that this is a free market and the competition is fierce. Sellers suffer in a buyer's market.
Stories from the trenches, by a fictional hiring partner at a large law firm in a major city. Fictional, people.
1:57: wow, thanks for pointing that out. i mean, no one's ever pointed that out before.
I don't need a book to understand law firms. But where can I get the No-Excuses Guide to Understanding (the mahvelous) la depressionada?
5:15 PM, how can you screw up a joke that has been told SO MANY times before? The devil says "Oh, that was our summer program." "Staff" are the people who do the copying and answer the phones. It's not a bad joke, but you dragged it out and made it suck. Way to go.
So basically you're saying working biglaw sucks. But it doesn't suck as bad as maybe some other jobs. And at least the money is good? I know you mean well and all that, and I do appreciate it, but man if this still isn't terribly depressing.
That's why working for Uncle Sam is the bomb.
3:48 Yes, he certainly mucked up that old saw better than even a tenured law professor who still thinks he's Frankfurter's clerk.

2:21 Long Answer: Lifeguards prevent me from swimming in denial. I'm certain, however, due to forthcoming Bush budgetary restraints, there will be no lifeguards on duty next term and the shores of denial will thrown open to all. Then we can jump in with impunity.

In a nutshell: I'm a sybarite.
Actually, it is Burma, not Myanmar (at least in the West). The name was 'changed' by the military government (read dictatorship) of Burma without any legislative approval or ratification. As a result, most Western governments (including Uncle Sam) have refused to recognise the change and continue to use Burma as the official name for the country.

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